For many people, the closet is the last place to get tackled when we’re reorganizing our homes. After all, we tend to take an “out of sight, out of mind” approach when it comes to our closets: if we don’t want to deal with that pile of laundry, shoving it in a closet gives us the appearance of a clean home, even if there’s still a mountain of clutter behind closed doors. The problem? Even if it’s hidden, that clutter still creates stress and anxiety, according to psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter.
Fortunately, getting your closet in optimum shape doesn’t require a massive overhaul or a major renovation. A few easy tricks can take your closet from disastrous to delightful for very little time or expense. And if you want to tackle the whole house, check out 20 Genius Ways to Make Chores More Fun.
Plan Your Space Around How Much You Use Certain Items
Why is that shirt you wear every Wednesday sequestered on a high shelf while all of your bulky and seldom-used suitcases sit within reach on your closet floor? If you want to better organize your closet, put your most-used items at eye level and put the ones you rarely use, like suitcases or special occasion outfits, on higher shelves to make getting ready a breeze. And once you do put that luggage into use, This Is the Best Way to Pack a Suitcase.
Store Sheet Sets in their Pillowcases
Stacks of sheets are a recipe for disorganization in your closet. They don’t stay where you put them, they look sloppy, and they make it difficult to find what you need. Instead of sifting through piles of bed linens, keep your sheet sets together by folding everything and tucking them into one of the set’s pillowcases. Then you can neatly stack the pillowcases, tidying up your closet and keeping poorly folded fitted sheets out of sight.
Double Your Hanging Capacity With Soda Tabs
If you simply have too much stuff to fit in your closet as is, consider doubling your hangers by popping the tab from a can of soda over hook at the top. You can then put another hanger through the bottom hole of the tab and hang up two items in a space that could previously only accommodate one. This video provides clear instructions. And if you find yourself with a little more free space, make sure you have these 15 Items Every Man Should Have in His Closet.
Light It Up
Want to maintain a more organized space? Make sure your closet is well-lit. Not only will an illuminated closet make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for, it will also make it easier for you to see when you’re falling off the well-organized wagon. Any overhead lights in your closet should be bright bulbs, and if that’s not enough, install some inexpensive motion sensor lights that you can stick on the walls. And for more brilliant buys, check out 50 Genius Products Under $50 That Will Improve Your Life.
Turn Your Hangers the Wrong Way
Free up some closet space by going through your closet and turning all your hangers so they’re backwards, with the open end of the hooks pointed towards you. After you wear something, put it away with the hanger facing the right direction. Set a time limit, like three months or a year. Anything that’s still on a backwards hanger after that time has passed gets tossed, because you never wear it.
Don’t Hang Sweaters and Bulky Items
There’s a better way to store bulky sweaters than hanging them up. Because of their bulk, they use up too much precious curtain rod real estate, and the weight of the garment can lead to drooping, saggy shoulders. Instead, get a hanging shoe organizer, roll your sweaters, and store them in it.
Store Shoes Heel-to-Toe
Make more room for your shoes by storing them yin-yang, with the heel of one shoe in line with the toe of the other.
Keep Your Boots Organized
Boots require a little bit more care than regular shoes. If you let them slump over on their sides, they take up too much space and can become wrinkled or creased. Take your boot storage vertical with a hanging boot organizer, and you can fix both those problems in one fell swoop. This one is highly rated on Amazon, but there are many different styles that might suit your closet space better. If you have the space to keep your boots on the ground, maintain their structural integrity by putting thick magazines or pieces of pool noodles inside of them to keep them from slouching. And if you’d like more tips on how to stay organized, check out 40 Genius Ways to Be More Organized After 40.
Invest in Quality Hangers
There’s absolutely no reason to be hanging your clothes on wire hangers, which are not only unsightly, but can also leave your delicate clothes misshapen at the shoulders. And while plastic hangers may be slightly less likely to disfigure your clothing, items often slip right off. Instead, consider investing in some type of slimline hanger with a velvet finish, which will take up little space while keeping your clothes from falling on the floor. Better yet, their uniform appearance will make your closet feel more organized than when it was full of relics from your dry cleaner.
Use a Pull-Down Closet Rod
If you’ve got the space, you may want to install a pull-down closet rod to increase your clothes hanging capacity. Once you grab what you need, the rod goes back up and stores your garments out of sight, kind of like a Murphy bed for clothes.
Make Your Own Nonslip Hangers
If a few new sets of matching slimline hangers is out of your budget, there are a few great ways to turn the hangers you already have into nonslip hangers. A long-lasting, but time consuming, method is to wrap every hanger in yarn. If that’s not your style, for a quick fix, you can apply a few beads or a ribbon of hot glue to your hangers to give them some extra grip. (Of course, be sure to let the glue dry before you use the hanger.)
Divide Your Wardrobe Into Seasons
Unless you’re traveling to a different hemisphere, there’s no reason to have your sweaters and wool pants taking up closet space in the middle of summer. Switch out your wardrobes as the seasons change to free up space. Store your off-season garments in bins under your bed with lavender sachets to protect against moths or in plastic bags you can vacuum-pack shut.
Get Creative With Your Shelves
Just because your closet came with a single rod doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Add shelves to increase your closet’s storage capacity, and use them to store things like bed linens and towels. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to adding storage space, either: towel bars hung at the back of a larger shelf can provide you plenty of space to store scarves and ties, while adding some cube storage drawers in your shelves can help keep stray accessories concealed.
Buy Some Shelf Dividers
You can organize and neatly stack the stuff in your closet any way your heart desires, but piles of clothes aren’t going to stay neatly stacked for very long without something holding them in place. If you make use of shelves in your closet, shelf dividers like the ones pictured keep your stuff where you put it, instead of spilling over to the side and quickly turning into a mess.
Ditch the Shoe Boxes
Shoe boxes seem like a great way to store stuff. But they have two crucial flaws. First, they don’t stack neatly on top of each other. And second, it’s impossible to see what’s inside of them. Invest in some clear plastic bins, like these from the Container Store, and use those instead. To really take your organizing game to the next level, get a label maker or a paint pen and clearly label what goes in each bin and eliminate the frustrating guesswork of trying to find something stored in a random box on a shelf above your head.
Pull Out Items That Need Repair
Don’t let items that need a new zipper or button or some mending take up space in your closet. Pull them out and put them aside. If, after a few months, you still haven’t gotten it fixed, it’s probably time to toss it because you’re not wearing it. And make sure you repair all your clothes before you put them into seasonal storage, so you don’t pull out your favorite coat the first cold day of the year and realize you can’t wear it.
Put Up Some Pegboard
Pegboard isn’t just for the garage or kitchen. It’s also a great way to add easily customized storage space to your closet. You can use the pegs to hang belts, necklaces, ties, scarves, hats, and other accessories that usually get jumbled into a box.
Hang Some Hooks
Use hooks inside your closet to turn empty wall space into storage space. You can hang a row of hooks, like the one pictured here from IKEA, or you can hang individual hooks that match your available space and needs. Use the hooks for hats, scarves, frequently worn jackets, robes, or anything else you want to grab in a hurry.
Get a Closet Double Rod
If you’ve got plenty of space below your closet rod and not much space up top, a closet double rod like this one from Amazon might be just the thing for you. Hang it from your closet rod and you instantly double the amount of space you have for hanging stuff up.
Consider the KonMari Method
Of course, if you really want to declutter your closet, you can’t go wrong throwing away a whole bunch of stuff. Marie Kondo, author of bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up created a method of simplifying your home that involves going through every item you own and asking yourself if it sparks joy, among other things. It’s a lot of initial work, but Kondo claims to have a very high success rate for those willing to put in the time. And if you’ve tackled your closet and are ready for more, learn the 20 Home Maintenance Tips Everyone Should Know.
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